U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth told Idahoans she opposes privatizing the U.S. Postal Service, but she’s a co-sponsor of legislation to do just that, her Democratic opponent said Wednesday.
“Either she is completely, hopelessly confused, or she is deliberately misleading the people of Idaho regarding what she does when she gets back to Washington, D.C.,” challenger Dan Williams said at a Boise news conference.
Williams also noted Chenoweth’s vote last week for a procedural move that finalized approval of the line-item veto, after she stated repeatedly that she opposes the line-item veto.
“Idaho deserves a congressman who knows what she is doing,” Williams said. “This is another indication that Helen Chenoweth is not up to this job.”
Chenoweth, in an interview Wednesday, said she wouldn’t support privatizing the postal system as a whole because she believes that would be unconstitutional. But she would support privatizing some of its functions.
She and two California representatives are the only co-sponsors listed on HR210, whose sponsor is Rep. Phil Crane, R-Ill. The bill is headed, “To provide for the privatization of the United States Postal Service.” Section 1 is headed, “Transfer to a private corporation,” and Section 2 is “Requirements for the corporation.”
Chenoweth said she, like Crane and former U.S. Sen. Steve Symms, is “strong on privatization of government services.”
“This is a different situation because the Postal Service is a constitutional agency,” she said.
Chenoweth said she signed onto Crane’s bill in the hope that it could be molded into a measure to privatize parts of the postal service and still meet constitutional muster.
“If the final bill does not meet the constitutional test, my name will be off the bill,” she said.
Williams said he opposes privatization of the postal service because it is “a terrible idea for any rural state.”
“All that rural service would be completely lost” or rates would push so high that rural residents couldn’t afford the service, Williams said.
“Maybe it would be OK for the great big places in California, but in Idaho it’d be a disaster.”